In a previous article, we discovered how Educate for Life (EFL) was helping families in Bakhel overcome Covid-19. Now we are pleased to share that this year, some of the very first students of the local primary school, Hunar Ghar (HG), are graduating from secondary level. The pupils, who joined when the school opened in 2007, are now looking towards studying at a tertiary stage. Many are even taking additional exams to qualify for teacher training. As EFL has relayed to us, this is a triumphant outcome for both the Bakhel community and the charity as over 80% of adults in Bakhel have not been to school themselves and the literacy rate is 20%. Now, the new generation is paving the way towards a brighter future.
EFL asked a few of the recent graduates about their experiences as the first to complete their secondary education.
Vikram and Meena*, two 18 year olds from Bakhel Village who attended HG and are now at a residential secondary school in Jhadol (some 90km away), described their scholastic times:
Vikram said, “No one from my family goes to school and no one completed 8th class [last year of primary school]so I feel proud that I completed 12th and got the highest percentage from my batch students (77% in Agriculture stream). I also feel that the school was proud of me and their hard work was not wasted.”
Referring to HG, he said, “My best memory of school was morning assembly and exercise. My favourite topic was chemistry because you only had to understand equations and remember them which seemed easy. I also enjoyed meeting friends in school and the hostel room atmosphere. I would like to give the advice to other students to never give up in spite of challenges. They should make a timetable to follow for daily study, give equal time to all subjects, give special attention to a weak subject and ask teachers for help. RBKS-EFL has changed my life by supporting me in all ways, I would never get such good marks if I studied in a government school and I got a new experience of life by going to Jhadol. I learned a lot of new things and, out of Bakhel, came to know that the world is very big. My family is proud and supports my decision to continue study.”
Thinking about the future, Vikram said, “I would like to become an officer in the agriculture department and am doing preparation for a JET (Joint Entrance Test) agriculture admission. I would like to stay in Bakhel but my further study would not allow me. I would like to uplift my village condition in the future, encourage my siblings to continue study and brighten the Bakhel village and HG name.”
Meena was also proud to be one of the school’s first graduates, saying, “No one other than my father could study in my family and now I have completed 12th. Seeing the progress of my studies (68% in Agriculture stream), my family is supporting me.”
Reflecting on HG, she said, “My best memory is the classroom environment, learning by going to community and Child Learning Demonstration Days (when parents and community members are invited to come to the school and watch performances by different classes/students to see what the children have been learning). My further studies were in Jhadol, which was quite different from Bakhel and HG. I liked the atmosphere, study and facilities. The teacher supported a lot in my studies and I never felt homesick. I want to tell the rest of the children not to leave their studies in the middle, if they are facing any problem then talk to the school so that it can be resolved and the study continued. RBKS-EFL has supported me like a family. If they had not, I would have had to study in a government school, my family would have got me married later and I would not have been able to study further.”
When asked about the future Meena said, “I am preparing for a BSTC (Basic School Teacher Course) and JET agriculture admission. I got coaching books from HG for preparation. I want to become a teacher but if I got in agriculture college (which is tougher than BSTC) I would prefer to continue study and get a career in agriculture. If I become a teacher then I will first go to HG to teach.”